You missed a great time at the Trading Tortoise

Following are a few photos from Sunday’s Trading Tortoise stop at Ypsi’s Corner Brewery. I traded a beard that I’d shaved off a few years ago, and stuffed into an old, amber pill bottle, for a penny on which JFK’s head had been etched next to that of Lincoln. It came along with a small booklet, outline the eerie similarities between the two men, and their assassinations. (Apparently, after JFK’s death, these things were sold for 25¢ apiece in the backs of magazines.) Linette traded an old memo that she’s gotten from her friend Lisa about 20 years ago, when she’d been working at the Detroit Metro Airport. The memo asked security personnel, like Lisa, to please not defecate at their guard posts. (According to the memo, boxes filled with poop had been found.) Linette got a framed “double unicorn” for it. I believe it had been acquired at an earlier stop, in Toronto. Linette tried to relay the story to me, but I didn’t follow it, as I was drifting off to sleep. It had something to do with the near death experience of a well known Canadian artist, I think.

Souther and Monica, the artists behind (or, rather, inside) the turtle, may have a different opinion, but, from my perspective, the whole thing went incredibly well. Given the fact that we only had one day to promote the event, I wasn’t sure that anyone would come out for it, but, thankfully, a lot of people did. In fact, for the two and a half hours that I was there, Souther and Monica didn’t get a single break, as people were always lined up outside of the turtle, filling out the required paperwork, and waiting to trade… Speaking of trades, my favorite score of the day was had by Shawn Gates (seen above), who got some weird kind of doll covered in phrases like “tired blood,” “hysteria” and “choking.” I can’t remember what he traded for it, but it must have been good.

As for my beard, I suspect it’ll be one of the things that makes it all the way through to the end of the project without being traded. (This was only their fourth stop out of forty.) I wonder if there’s a special designation for those things that are found to be untradable? Will there be a special Hall of Shame page in the “Trades” section of their website? Or, worse yet, what if my beard falls into the hands of a psychopath somewhere that becomes fixated on me, and starts performing odd rituals with my facial hair? Or, what if a kid tries smoking my beard to get high, ends up eating the face of some beloved celebrity, and then I become an international pariah? Clearly, I did not think this through.

[Our earlier post on the Trading Tortoise, which includes a great deal more background on the project, can be found here.]

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7 Comments

  1. Kristin
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Genius! That is an excellent idea, and so full of possibilities.

  2. Posted July 4, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    It is an excellent idea, Kristin, and you would have really liked it. Not everyone came out, like my family, with poop memos and preserved beards. There were lots of hand-made things that were quite beautiful. Actually, the whole thing was quite beautiful. A lot of families came, and then hung out, talking, comparing trades, and talking about various art projects that we could undertake together. It was a nice community building event. And everyone liked sitting down in the doorway to the turtle, and making their trades… kids and old folks alike. There’s something magical about it.

  3. ZTM
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    amazing what affluent people do with their free time

  4. Posted July 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes, ZTM, we were all trading monocles and top hats. It was quite exhilarating.

  5. Burt Reynolds
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I am extremely interested in seeing more of that young lady’s tattoo.

  6. JJ
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Somewhere in the world, at this very moment, someone is probably pasting on your beard, intent on carrying out unspeakable crimes as Mark Maynard. Or, more likely, Souther and Monica tossed your whiskers in a Corner Brewery trash can.

  7. Elf
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Not just somewhere in the world. Likely in Milwaukee.

    http://www.avclub.com/milwaukee/articles/trading-tortoise,82113/

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